At the beginning of every year, I watch the premiere of NBC’s The Biggest Loser.
And, in the irony of ironies, I have often watched with a super-sized bag of fast food awfulness in my lap. This year was no different.
Obviously, the massive amount of work that these people put in to take charge of their health is inspiring, but at this point, I think I watch BL more for the trainers than the contestants. This season, with the much-heralded return of Jillian Michaels, it’s like my own personal trainer trifecta: Jillian, who somehow manages to both awe and scare me at the same time, compassionate yet ass-kicking Bob Harper, and life-loving, take-no-prisoners Dolvett Quince.
In the first episode, contestants arrive at the BL Ranch, are split into teams, and are paired with trainers. This year, there is a “child ambassador” assigned to each team who will mostly play from home. It’s all rah-rah… until they step inside the gym. Then the work really starts.
You see people vomit, fall off of treadmills, pass out, and give up… all within the first few hours. I’ve never done a six-hour workout in my life, much less one where I’ve been yelled at by a BL trainer.
I can see how the emotional strain would set in as quickly as the physical.
An over-400-pound man struggled just to stay on the treadmill. He gave up exercise after exercise saying that he couldn’t do it.
This man was also in a car accident where he critically injured his young son, causing him multiple fractures, a concussion, and dislocating his eye socket.
He spoke at the beginning of the episode about promising his son that he will change, yet even walking on a treadmill at 5 MPH spurred him to declare that he wasn’t capable.
But this is where the trainers come in.
“You’re capable of anything, honey. You are capable of anything, as long as you choose it.” – Jillian Michaels
Something changed in the contestant after he heard that reminder from Jillian. You could see that he had re-connected the reality that he got to make choices about how he lives his life. About what he eats. About how much work he’s willing to put in.
At one point, he is face down on the gym floor, covered in sweat. Bob gets right in his face, and says:
“It has to be this hard. It has to be this hard so that you will never, ever forget.” – Bob Harper
I have always been overweight. I believe I was in college the first time “obese” appeared in my medical history. That was fun to read.
I did Weight Watchers once. I lost 65 pounds and gained it all back in 6 months.
I joined a gym. Never went.
I trained for and completed a 5K… then went right back to sitting on the couch.
I am both gluten- and lactose-intolerant, yet I eat baked goods like they’re going out of style.
Before the holidays, I had to give up my pole dance membership for financial reasons. It put me in a bit of a slump, to be honest. Here was another thing that I started and didn’t “finish”.
I keep forgetting that I am making choices. And that I can make more choices.
I can choose to find ways to be active at home.
I can choose to put in the time to research recipes and prepare meals that won’t inflame my body.
I can choose to believe in myself.
Image credit: Heather Dowd.
p.s. The 3rd Stratejoy Essay Contest is open for entries! Ready to win the $500? Be featured here at Stratejoy? Yes! The theme: “How has a transition revealed a more authentic you?”
p.p.s. The next Book Club/Tribe Chat Fest is going to be about marriage and partners. Juicy, juicy. We’re reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Committed: A Love Story and will be jamming about it on February 13.